Rating change for ‘Bully’ wasn’t uncommon move

In The Hill’s May 9 Special Report on Education, Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) indicated that the Classification and Rating Administration of the Motion Picture Association of America made an unprecedented decision to change the rating for Lee Hirsh’s documentary “Bully” from R to PG (“The Bullying Epidemic: What’s Next,”). Allow me to correct this misunderstanding.

An edited version of “Bully” was submitted for rating and received a rating of PG-13, not a PG. Also, editing and resubmitting a film for another rating is a common occurrence within the rating system — the process is outlined in the Classification and Rating Administration Rules, available on filmratings.com. The purpose of the system is to give parents an indication of the level of content of various elements within a film so they can make informed choices for their children. Not one of the ratings means a film is “good” or “bad” — it merely gives information. In this version, “Bully” is rated PG-13 for “intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language — all involving teens.”

We certainly agree with Rep. Honda that bullying is an important issue and that the film “Bully” can serve as an important vehicle for discussion.

From Joan Graves, senior vice president of the Motion Picture Association of America and chairwoman of the Classification and Rating Administration, Washington, D.C.

Climate science, rhetoric in need of another look

It seems grossly unfair that, when a conservatively oriented group such as the Heartland Institute uses satire and sensationalism to attract public attention to its point of view, all hell breaks loose, but when campaigners on the other side do the same thing, or worse, few in media say anything at all (“Heartland Institute yanks Unabomber climate billboard,” May 4).

The Heartland Institute’s use of the “Unabomber” was an extreme attempt to draw the attention of scientists and media to the unsettled science of climate change. However, many environmentalists and their ardent supporters have used similar tactics to chastise climate change skeptics and their science. Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, while delivering a public lecture at McGill University in Montreal in February 2008, openly called for policymakers who disagree with global warming science to be jailed, with hardly any outrage from the media or in the scientific community.

Such rhetoric must NOT be accepted in a civilized and democratic society like ours. The science of global warming and associated climate change as espoused by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is uncertain and needs to be thoroughly re-examined before any climate policy can be implemented. In several of my own studies I have documented that the modest present warming could in fact be beneficial to many countries in south Asia — where close to 50 percent of world humanity lives today — in terms of increased grain yields and forest growth due to increased concentration of atmospheric CO2. 

There is an urgent need to initiate an open dialogue on the present state of the global warming science. The Heartland Institute has provided a useful platform for such an open debate by organizing climate change conferences and inviting scientists from both sides of the debate to participate.

From M.L. Khandekar, Markham, Ontario, Canada

Tell your representative in Congress: Get to work

The members of the U.S. House of Representatives worked in Washington for 41 of the first 127 days of this year. They are planning to be in session half of the remaining weeks. How long would you keep your job if you worked like that? Even when they show up, they fail to address the biggest problems facing the country. It would take a 50 percent tax increase in order to balance the so-called budget, yet they are avoiding the problem while the debt grows by $1,200 billion dollars per year. 

The real problem is you and I let them get away with it. They work for us, and we pay them $174,000 per year to do it. Make a commitment to write or call your representative once a week and express your views. See how they respond and let that be your guide to voting this November.

From Irving B. Welchons III, Charlotte, N.C.

Obama a role model for healthy eating habits\

On May 9, The Hill’s Healthwatch blog posted an item about an activist doctors group chiding President Obama for eating “junk” food in public (“Doctors group calls on Obama to stop eating junk food in public”).

As an active and healthy person who balances calories consumed with the right amount of physical activity, Obama is a role model for American adults and children when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. Eating is fundamentally about nourishment, but it is also about enjoyment, fellowship and celebration. The president clearly understands that all foods and beverages — consumed in moderation and balanced with an active lifestyle — can fit in a healthy diet.

From Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Washington, D.C.